Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for his country to take a "greater and more proactive role" in regional security.
In a keynote speech to the 13th IISS Asian Security Summit in Singapore late Friday, Abe stressed that the U.S.-Japanese alliance remained the cornerstone of Japan's security policy in Asia.
But he also called for Japan's neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) to join him in creating a stable environment in which Asia as a region could prosper.
The Japanese Prime Minister also emphasized the need to avoid "unexpected situations", and called on China and ASEAN to establish a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
His comments come against a backdrop of heightened geopolitical tension in Asia. Recent weeks have seen reports of Chinese boats ramming Vietnamese boats in the South China Sea, while there have been violent anti-China demonstrations in Vietnam against China's decision to place an oil rig in part of the South China Sea claimed by both China and Vietnam.
In addition, relations between Tokyo and Beijing have soured in recent months following a dispute in the East China Sea over islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.